European green-technology firms seek more incentives in Vietnam

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European firms supplying and using energy-efficiency technologies say they need more incentives from the Vietnamese government to set up long-term operations in the country.

Many firms attended GreenBiz 2013, an event held in Ho Chi Minh City September 19 to discuss strategies and opportunities to develop the green industry.

News website Saigon Times quoted Ngo Van Huy, Vietnam director of Dutch electronic firm Philips, as saying the policies for the industry do not go far enough, pointing to the lighting sector.

Vietnam, in which ighting accounts for a quarter of the power consumption compared with the global average of 19 percent, sets import duty on energy-saving LED bulbs at 25 percent the same as on ordinary light bulbs.

Nguyen Cong Minh Bao, director of Swiss cement company Holcim, also called for more incentives, saying the country would benefit in the long term if the sector flourishes.

Jean Jacques Bouflet of the Delegation of the European Union to Vietnam had said earlier that green industry growth is an important issue in talks between Vietnam and the EU for a bilateral free trade agreement.

The two sides agree that firms adopting clean technologies would get the biggest incentives, he added.

The fourth round of talks took place in Belgium in July and negotiators hope to wrap up the talks in late 2014.

Bao said the government needs to get tougher on businesses causing harm to the environment and tighten pollution standards to encourage firms to adopt greener technologies.

Nguyen Thi Viet Thuy, deputy director of German-owned Messer which provides treatment technologies for industrial wastewater, said the penalties are not severe enough to persuade firms, especially Vietnamese, to set up waste-treatment facilities. 

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